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I have worked for this company for several years, but then something strange happens.
Thread poster: Geoffrey Adams

Geoffrey Adams
Germany
Local time: 10:14
German to English
Feb 19

Hello everybody,

I have been a member here for several years but this is my first post here. I have been working for a translation agency for several years and have until now had no problems with them. I have completed several hundred jobs for them, it has always been easy working with them and they have always paid correctly and in good time.
But today I had an unbelievable experience with them.

I had a job in Across (I know) where the vast majority of the sente
... See more
Hello everybody,

I have been a member here for several years but this is my first post here. I have been working for a translation agency for several years and have until now had no problems with them. I have completed several hundred jobs for them, it has always been easy working with them and they have always paid correctly and in good time.
But today I had an unbelievable experience with them.

I had a job in Across (I know) where the vast majority of the sentences were 75% or more fuzzy matches. The sentences were very similar to sentences that had already been accepted in the translation memory. The deadline was Tuesday afternoon. I completed and sent off the job on the Monday. I received no response to the confirmation email that I sent. Then this morning I receive a terse email stating that there were 876 terminology errors in the job I sent. These were nearly all sentences that had already been entered into the TM. Shortly afterwards the person stated that my fee would be cut by around 70%. The person had had nearly two full work days to discuss any issues with me but had not written anything.

If someone is going to state that I made 876 terminology errors for sentences where almost all of them had already been accepted into the TM, and then makes no attempt to contact me then I think that they are so dishonest that it is pointless to continue communicating with them.

How should I make a complaint against this company? Should the company be named? What on earth is going on here? As I said earlier, they have in the past been a good company to work for, but this is crazy. Is this a scam?
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Blue Board Feb 19

Your first step should be to give them a negative score on the Blue Board.

Yolanda Broad
Thayenga
philgoddard
Dmitri Nazarenko
 

Diana Kaplan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:14
Member (2019)
English to German
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Feb 19

Geoffrey, is this the person you usually deal with?
It is strange indeed. It seems you have a good relationship with them, for now I would be careful giving them negative feedback.


Morano El-Kholy
Nuria Morales
Wout Van den Broeck
Thomas Pfann
Sana Hilal
Laura Kingdon
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Does TM trump glossary? Feb 19

Geoffrey Adams wrote:
This morning I receive an email stating that there were 876 terminology errors in the job I sent. These were nearly all sentences that had already been entered into the TM.


Was there an official glossary, and if so, did the client tell you that following the glossary was mandatory?

Were the TM matches locked somehow, or were you able to (and/or were you expected to) edit the TM matches?

Of course, this also raises is a question for which each client or job will have a different answer: what you should do if the glossary contradicts the TM.


Joe France
Kevin Fulton
Laura Kingdon
 

Nuria Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
There were aware? Feb 19

The matter is, for me, if really you agree the errors are objective. I explain myself, sometimes I must deal with poor quality Tms, where I really dont agree with most of translations. In such a case, I stop translation and I talk with the client, explaining why translations already taken are not acceptable. The answer could be either 'change as you want and we'll talk prize' or 'sorry but we/(our client) are proud about the translations already done and you must keep them'. Maybe a kind note be... See more
The matter is, for me, if really you agree the errors are objective. I explain myself, sometimes I must deal with poor quality Tms, where I really dont agree with most of translations. In such a case, I stop translation and I talk with the client, explaining why translations already taken are not acceptable. The answer could be either 'change as you want and we'll talk prize' or 'sorry but we/(our client) are proud about the translations already done and you must keep them'. Maybe a kind note before the translation was over would be enought to solve this misunderstanding.Collapse


Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Odd Feb 19

Is this a new PM?

If they are unhappy about it, they should first of all give you the opportunity to correct your translation. What does the contract, if any, say about such situations?

Were reduced word rates applied to the fuzzy matches?

Was the terminology (TB) readily available in the CAT tool?

Had the client said anything about how trustworthy the TM was? TMs are often full of mistakes and I never take anything in them as an authoritative
... See more
Is this a new PM?

If they are unhappy about it, they should first of all give you the opportunity to correct your translation. What does the contract, if any, say about such situations?

Were reduced word rates applied to the fuzzy matches?

Was the terminology (TB) readily available in the CAT tool?

Had the client said anything about how trustworthy the TM was? TMs are often full of mistakes and I never take anything in them as an authoritative reference.

You said, 'The person had had nearly two full work days to discuss any issues with me but had not written anything.' So had you mentioned any issues to the client? Had you detected a systematic mismatch between the TB and the terms used in the TM? If so, had you pointed it out to the client?
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Yolanda Broad
Liviu-Lee Roth
Laura Kingdon
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Misunderstanding? (2) Feb 19

Geoffrey Adams wrote:
If someone is going to state that I made 876 terminology errors for sentences where almost all of them had already been accepted into the TM, and then makes no attempt to contact me then I think that they are so dishonest that it is pointless to continue communicating with them.

How should I make a complaint against this company? Should the company be named? What on earth is going on here? As I said earlier, they have in the past been a good company to work for, but this is crazy. Is this a scam?

I agree with Diana that you shouldn't immediately assume the worst and, in your rage, destroy what could be a savable situation.

If it's a new PM (to you or to the company), maybe they just need to be encouraged to think again, and consult with the boss.
If they've had a complaint from the end client, who's also one of their major income sources, maybe they're just sore and/or out-of-pocket and are taking it out on you. Not good, but PMs are human too.
Also, just because something is in a TM doesn't make it right, especially not if the 75% match is hiding what is actually a major change of context. Even a 100% match shouldn't be considered to be 100% correct - unless your agreement with the client says you won't be paid even a cent for it. Have they populated their TMs with rubbish? If so, and you left the rubbish, maybe you need to take the hit this time, but renegotiate the rate for fuzzies for future jobs.
And another possibility is that there has been a major change in policy, probably prompted by a takeover by one of the behemoths of the industry. That could mean you need to get out quick, with or without full payment for this job, but hopefully with it as you hadn't been informed of any policy change.
One thing to consider, in any case, is the current contract you have with them. Even if you never signed anything, did you implicitly agree to their T&C hidden somewhere on their website? Maybe that refers to penalties. If it doesn't, I don't see that they can demand any discount, but they can probably demand that you fix the incorrect terms, at your cost.


Morano El-Kholy
Yolanda Broad
Joe France
Niina Lahokoski
Klára Kalamár
Jasmina Towers
Tina Vonhof
 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:14
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Email headers Feb 19

Geoffrey Adams wrote:

Hello everybody,

I have been a member here for several years but this is my first post here. I have been working for a translation agency for several years and have until now had no problems with them. I have completed several hundred jobs for them, it has always been easy working with them and they have always paid correctly and in good time.
But today I had an unbelievable experience with them.

I had a job in Across (I know) where the vast majority of the sentences were 75% or more fuzzy matches. The sentences were very similar to sentences that had already been accepted in the translation memory. The deadline was Tuesday afternoon. I completed and sent off the job on the Monday. I received no response to the confirmation email that I sent. Then this morning I receive a terse email stating that there were 876 terminology errors in the job I sent. These were nearly all sentences that had already been entered into the TM. Shortly afterwards the person stated that my fee would be cut by around 70%. The person had had nearly two full work days to discuss any issues with me but had not written anything.

If someone is going to state that I made 876 terminology errors for sentences where almost all of them had already been accepted into the TM, and then makes no attempt to contact me then I think that they are so dishonest that it is pointless to continue communicating with them.

How should I make a complaint against this company? Should the company be named? What on earth is going on here? As I said earlier, they have in the past been a good company to work for, but this is crazy. Is this a scam?



First I would compare the email header with the ones previously received.


Yolanda Broad
 

Wout Van den Broeck
Belgium
Local time: 10:14
Member (2019)
English to Dutch
Focus on your longtime collaboration Feb 19

Hi Geoffrey

I agree with Diana and Sheila that you have to be careful not to harm your good relationship with the client. In the short term, your longtime collaboration is your most important asset to find a mutually acceptable solution, and in the long run, this issue might turn out to be just a small bump in the road.

In first place, I would advise you to communicate with them - guessing about their motives will get you nowhere. State your facts: why you have delivere
... See more
Hi Geoffrey

I agree with Diana and Sheila that you have to be careful not to harm your good relationship with the client. In the short term, your longtime collaboration is your most important asset to find a mutually acceptable solution, and in the long run, this issue might turn out to be just a small bump in the road.

In first place, I would advise you to communicate with them - guessing about their motives will get you nowhere. State your facts: why you have delivered what you have delivered. Ask for theirs: why weren't they satisfied, and (in case there really was a problem with your work) what you can do to correct it. Be firm but friendly, stress your good relationship, and focus on finding a solution (instead of arguing over terms and conditions - you can do this later, if need be).
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Sheila Wilson
Christel Zipfel
ahartje
Thomas Pfann
Laura Kingdon
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:14
Dutch to English
+ ...
Didn't you notice? Feb 19

Surely you must have noticed the TM entries were poor?
If you did, why didn't you let the agency know straight away, and ask them how they wanted to proceed?

If you didn't notice, or thought it didn't matter, I don't think you were doing anybody a service, so maybe just accept the 70% cut and move on.

I always scan even 100% matches to make sure there's no real rubbish getting past.

[Edited at 2020-02-19 21:24 GMT]


Thomas T. Frost
Liviu-Lee Roth
Maaike van Vlijmen
Chris S
 

Gitte Hovedskov
Denmark
Local time: 10:14
English to Danish
+ ...
Don't throw it all away... Feb 20

Going straight to the Blue Board and giving an otherwise good client a black mark is not the professional approach. That is like a child throwing a tantrum.

Speak with them, find out what went wrong, and do your best to fix it. Even if it means losing payment for the entire job. Don't just throw away a good working relationship over one job.

I would not consider anything under a 95 % fuzzy match a serious match, and even with such a high match, I would consider the matc
... See more
Going straight to the Blue Board and giving an otherwise good client a black mark is not the professional approach. That is like a child throwing a tantrum.

Speak with them, find out what went wrong, and do your best to fix it. Even if it means losing payment for the entire job. Don't just throw away a good working relationship over one job.

I would not consider anything under a 95 % fuzzy match a serious match, and even with such a high match, I would consider the match a suggestion only. Unless segments are actually locked and you are told NOT to edit them, it is your job to make sure every segment is translated correctly.

75 % matches could be useless, or they could be helpful, but should never be trusted as 'almost correct matches'.
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Sheila Wilson
Thomas Pfann
Alison Jenner
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
So glad Feb 20

I'm so glad I don't use any CAT tools.

Jennifer Forbes
DZiW
 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:14
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Feb 20

Your first step should be to find out what this is about.

Most likely it is just a misunderstanding. The project manager might have run a QA tool over your translation which flagged up 876 false positives. This is not unusual but an inexperienced project manager without any understanding of languages might take them at face value.

Ask for a list of the errors, the QA report or at least a few examples of those alleged terminology errors. Chances are this can be cleared u
... See more
Your first step should be to find out what this is about.

Most likely it is just a misunderstanding. The project manager might have run a QA tool over your translation which flagged up 876 false positives. This is not unusual but an inexperienced project manager without any understanding of languages might take them at face value.

Ask for a list of the errors, the QA report or at least a few examples of those alleged terminology errors. Chances are this can be cleared up within ten minutes.
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Sheila Wilson
Gitte Hovedskov
Korana Lasić
Robert Rietvelt
Laura Kingdon
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
The BURDEN of PROOF - is on a claimant Feb 20

Geoffrey, it may be just a miscommunication, perhaps. If it's the first time they (try to) let you down, just make sure they are talking specifically. Any Plan B, C, and D?


On the not so positive side, they nicely omitted -37% per word for proofreading, imposed some -60% flat for fuzzy repetition "discounts", and charged -75% as fines... Splendid! Freebies? Excellent! After 60+ days? Superb! You're so needy that can't say 'No'? Killing spree!

So, for 1000 words t
... See more
Geoffrey, it may be just a miscommunication, perhaps. If it's the first time they (try to) let you down, just make sure they are talking specifically. Any Plan B, C, and D?


On the not so positive side, they nicely omitted -37% per word for proofreading, imposed some -60% flat for fuzzy repetition "discounts", and charged -75% as fines... Splendid! Freebies? Excellent! After 60+ days? Superb! You're so needy that can't say 'No'? Killing spree!

So, for 1000 words they offer not Euro 110+, but petty Euro 15-.
It's really nice to deal with you--as an agency only.
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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
German to Serbian
+ ...
Hummm, don't think so. Feb 20

Thomas Pfann wrote:

Your first step should be to find out what this is about.

Most likely it is just a misunderstanding. The project manager might have run a QA tool over your translation which flagged up 876 false positives. This is not unusual but an inexperienced project manager without any understanding of languages might take them at face value.

Ask for a list of the errors, the QA report or at least a few examples of those alleged terminology errors. Chances are this can be cleared up within ten minutes.


Nobody would hire a project manager who is that inexperienced. They need to be trained in CAT tools and what's happening here is just a bare minimum of what they should know. For instance, they should be aware that TMs tend to be fallible.

I saw similar cases before and after some time it turned out project manager needed some extra cash for their upcoming holiday. Then they create a drama, a mess, to penalize the translator. Unfortunately, very easy to do when everybody is hidden behind the screen and you can't see people's eyes.


 
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